Dubuque marine loses legs in Afghanistan - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque marine loses legs in Afghanistan

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Family members of an injured marine will soon rejoin their son in Maryland.

Just three weeks into his son's final tour, Jim Billmyer experienced what every military parent dreads.

"About 11 o'clock on a windy, dark Saturday night, last Saturday night, we got a knock on the door, and two marines came to the door, and of course we know that that's really bad," Christopher Billmyer's dad Jim Billmyer said.

The marines at the door told Billmyer medics had to amputate his son's legs after being hit by an IED and that his son was in a medically-induced coma but stable.

"That's something that'll probably stay with me a long time," Billmyer said, of the marines at his door and the news they delivered.

He said his son was taken from Afghanistan's Helmand province, one of the most notoriously risky areas, to a hospital in Germany. Tuesday afternoon, his son was on a plane to the military hospital in Bethesday, Maryland, where his family plans on meeting up with him.

22-year-old Christopher isn't the only Billmyer son serving his country. Joseph Billmyer, 19, is currently at army boot camp in Georgia.

"Yes, we are concerned," their dad said. "Maybe we're a little selfish, but we don't want to have to do this again."

Still, both parents - Jim and Cheryl Billmyer - said they're very proud of their son's service.

"I guess my feeling is that he wanted to serve his country and join the greatest fighting force in the world - the US Marines - and to go get the bad guys. That's what he was doing," Billmyer said, of his son.

Now, the Billmyers are coming to terms with the present.

"We just sent him a box of goodies, you know. Treats. And one of the things that he wanted was socks, because his feet got really cold," Jim Billmyer said, pausing after the statement.

"We hope that he can apply that same energy and determination and attitude that he's always had to going forward," Jim Billmyer said.

Christopher Billmyer was scheduled to be finished with his tour in April.

He's one of five children and a 2007 graduate of Wahlert High School.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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